SOS Hens not drinking water


In the Brooder
Mar 23, 2016
Franklin, WI
We have 70 birds on our farm and recently relocated them to the barn for the winter. We also switched up their waterers to a heated waterer. The waterers they had all summer had a green base and were gravity fed. The new ones had a red base and are also gravity fed. We realized the hens weren't drinking when water levels were not changing at all over the course of three days.

We observed and saw that they would approach the waterer and get very close to drinking, then pull their heads back and not drink - as if they were afraid of the new waterers.

Now I'm sure you are thinking- it's the red base versus the green base. Well, we scuffed and spray painted the red base to the same exact green in hopes that it would fix the problem. It did not. This morning we had a dead hen and the only explanation is dehydration.

To remedy the issue short term, we have been pouring water into their feed to make a wet mash. Now I fear they have "learned" this is the only way to get water.

When we put their old waterers back - they drink like crazy. We can't use their old waterers through the winter and of course, I spent an arm and a leg on the new heated waterers and there is no way to return them now that we spray painted them green. Any advice would be much appreciated!


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I'd leave both waterers out, eventually they'll get use to the red ones.

Not sure how to check for a short, stink you finger in there.
A multi meter would probably work but not sure what you'd set it on and where to put the probes.
@jthornton would you now how?

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